Dear fellow new moms (and world at large),
Though I’m not sure if I am still allowed to consider myself one of the new moms anymore (Abigail had her first birthday almost a year ago!) I often still feel just as paralyzed, confused, and exhausted as I did the day my little girl was first plopped on my chest.
Thankfully, the physical pains have all gone away (some postpartum tips reside here if you’d like: 11 Unglam Postpartum Essentials).
But man oh man is the emotional and spiritual struggle still present for me! It wasn’t until yesterday as I watched a clip from the cinematic masterpiece, Avengers Endgame, that the fact dawned on me: I’ve been ‘shoulding’ all over myself.
I’m an overthinker and a planner and an idealist, I admit. There are times when Instagram and Pinterest (and those sorts of picture-perfect social media) have been assets that clarified my planning process–at the beginning of my motherhood journey, not so much.
For example: I find the perfect vintage bassinet. The internet immediately frightens me by informing me anything not built in basically the past 5 years is super-de-duper dangerous. SIDS etc etc. Conclusion: Random ‘experts’ say I SHOULD buy a new bassinet. So no cute vintage bassinet for baby. Great.
(And so on and so forth for every mothering decision–ya know?)
This shoulding thing is a bad habit to adopt.
After about a month of avoiding the internet and lurking on Instagram and giving up on ever recording a YouTube video again, I heard some Christian advice from the most unlikely of sources: Thor’s mom.
As chunky Thor reunites with his mother, she gives this sage advice to her overachiever, emotionally exhausted son:
“Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.” 
EVERYONE fails at being who they’re supposed to be.
I have been paralyzed from cleaning and decorating my house (and a whole bunch of other things) because I’ve constantly told myself: ‘well it SHOULD be easy’ or ‘it SHOULD already have gotten done’ or the classic and dangerous ‘my husband SHOULD have done this for me!’
Instead of continuing to pursue a vision of what I should be, I ask myself: why do I even clean the house or do the laundry or feed my baby?
The answer is simple (though perhaps not to a Nordic goddess): because it is God’s will that I do so.
Oftentimes, I imagine the list of expectations God has for me is a mile long and that I SHOULD be accomplishing all of them [insert all the beautiful pious practices some moms and most nuns have down pat]. But the reality is, God gave us 10 commandments in the Old Testament and summed them up in 2 in the New Testament:
 Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God.  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment.Mark 12:29-31 (DR)
 And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
Loving my neighbor, loving myself, and God above all things are the things I should do. The path Caleb and I have promised God to do that (aka our road to sainthood!) is through our marriage. More specifically, the project of motherhood.
“[…]matrimonium, taken literally from its parts, means something along the lines of “mother-making” or “the condition of motherhood.” So, when a man and a woman come together in “matrimony,” they are preparing to make a new mother by having kids. In other words, the key truth that our culture has lost is that marriage is ordered toward procreation and family.” 
So instead of looking at everyone else and wondering why you can’t be as happy or as pretty or as good at decorating as them, simply succeed at being who you are–a beloved child of God.
Everything else will be a rollercoaster of situations and people you can’t control anyway!
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